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Resilient soil and water resources,
understanding the water beneath your feet.


GE 2: Development of climate change effected saltwater intrusion in the Elbe-Weser region

Responsible beneficiary: LBEG

The aim of this project is to understand the salt water dynamics in a coastal region which is important for future availability of fresh groundwater. The study area between the moraine ridges of Altenwalde (W) and Wingst (E) including the Hadelner marsh is widely used for agriculture. It is characterized through low groundwater recharge with saltwater intrusion in the marsh area and high groundwater recharge with a high water table in the moraine ridges.

Saltwater intrusion is a complex and dynamic problem in coastal aquifers. Analysing seasonal- and drainage effects, as well as flood events could show a perspective of how the salt-/freshwater-system react under climate change conditions. This response of the salt-/freshwater-interface will be used as a status quo for modelling climate scenarios in a flow model. Another focus and an alternative to drainage is groundwater storage in the moraine ridges.


The objectives are:

• Create a geologic 3D-model for the uppermost 30m of the subsurface using different geological and geophysical data partly developed within the project.

• Investigate the role of drainage and irrigation on the salt-/fresh water interface.

• Generate a groundwater model with a focus on groundwater management, as well as the evolution and sensitivity of the salt-/fresh water interface under different climate scenarios.

• Evaluate if groundwater storage in the moraines is an alternative use to drainage for the surplus water in the area.

• Collect and imply transnational knowledge about salt water management (Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Great Britain).

• Establish common language and understanding between scientific society and stakeholders.


Stakeholders are municipality, Water suppliers, dike- and drainage associations, farmer and farmer association, Region, Chamber of Agriculture Lower Saxony.